Animal Farm: A Fairy Story

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As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals, and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As we witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, we begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization; and in our most ...
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Intro by CM Wodehouse. Red-orange framed cover. Tight, clean, flat, square and sharp book. Pages lightly toned. 48th printing.

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Animal Farm: A Fairy Story (Houghton Mifflin Edition)

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Overview

As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals, and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As we witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, we begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization; and in our most charismatic leaders, the souls of our cruelest oppressors.
With a new forward by Gore Vidal.

Author Biography: George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, born in 1903. He produced an impressive and critically acclaimed body of work, including his two most famous novels, Animal Farm and 1984. He died in 1950.

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Editorial Reviews

Edmund Wilson
Absolutely first-rate...comparable to Voltaire and Swift. -- The New Yorker
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451514691
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/1/1956
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

GEORGE ORWELL (1903–1950) was born in India and served with the Imperial Police in Burma before joining the Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War. Orwell was the author of six novels as well as numerous essays and nonfiction works.

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Table of Contents

How to study v
How to use this guide ix
Key to icons x
Background 1
The story of Animal Farm 5
Who's who? 10
The main animal characters 10
The other animals 19
The humans 21
Themes 23
How to get to the top 23
How to tell lies 25
The uses of literacy 28
Down with "isms" 29
Language, style and structure 32
Just words? 32
Do we laugh? 33
The structure of the novel 34
The use of repetition 35
Commentary 37
Chapter 138
Chapter 241
Chapter 344
Chapter 448
Chapter 551
Chapter 655
Chapter 758
Chapter 862
Chapter 966
Chapter 1071
Topics for discussion and brainstorming 77
How to get an "A" in English Literature 79
The exam essay 80
Model answer and essay plans 81
Glossary of literary terms 84
Index 86
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2523 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1064)

4 Star

(1016)

3 Star

(318)

2 Star

(59)

1 Star

(66)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 2524 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Must read

    Animal Farm is about the animals on a farm uprising and throwing out their unjust owner in order to run the place themselves. It is a thinly-veiled jab at tyrannical regimes and succeeds tremendously. I breezed through this one and honestly could find nothing wrong with it. The characters are all believable and quite a few are even highly likable. My favorite is the horse Boxer who is renowned for his strength, both of body and character. You have to kind of suspend your disbelief when reading Animal Farm because of some of the things that happen, but it is well worth it. The animals decide that the humans get all of the benefit for their hard work and they are tired of it. Led by two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, they overthrow the humans. I won't give a bunch of spoilers, but the story unfolds in such a way as to show how a dictatorship comes to be and how the animals went from one form of slavery to another. I also think the character Squealer was done extremely well as far a propaganda man(pig). By the end of the tale, you can see and understand everything that has transpired and the moral stands on its own without you needing to be bashed over the head with it. For a great fairy-tale about the dangers of socialism or any other kind of bad government ending with "ism", look no further than Animal Farm, where "All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others."

    44 out of 47 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Today's parallels are astounding

    Classic, he was way ahead of his time. Of course evil and lies lurk in our everyday lives. You can see the parallels in today's politics, a must read for everyone and keep your eyes open, freedom is not free-nothing is given to you without consequences read between the lines.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2009

    It is the time of the Pig Regime!

    It is the time of the Pig Regime! Animal Farm is about the animals working together to overthrow their often drunken and oppressive owner, Mr. Jones. Their action is inspired even more by Old Major, a prize winning pig, who ends up dying just before the animals' revolt. Later on, the pigs are given power over the other animals because they are thought to have more intelligence than the other animals. The choice that the animals make to put the pigs in charge symbolizes the rise of communism in Russia after the 1917 revolution. The animal that I admire most in the novel is Snowball. The reason why I admire Snowball so much is because he is such a good speaker and is so interested in making the animals' lives better by trying to educate them and pass his knowledge on to them. Snowball's beliefs represent the start of communistic beliefs, similar to those of Leon Trotsky, and Old Major's beliefs are similar to those of Vladimir Lenin. When Snowball is overthrown and exiled by Napoleon, a power hungry Berkshire boar, Napoleon himself takes over the Animal Farm and changes its name to The Manor Farm. Napoleon rules like a dictator and tyrant, and his actions and character traits are an allegory of Joseph Stalin during his rule of the former Soviet Union. Napoleon twists and turns the original rules that were there before his regime to support his wants. When the animals try to revolt against Napoleon or make any uproar about his judgment, they are killed, exiled, or both. After a short period of time, the animals realize that Napoleon is truly a cruel ruler.
    I recommend this novel for people who enjoy reading fictional books that are based on true life history. The use of animal characters to represent people and the heavy use of symbolism make Animal Farm an educational book. Animal Farm is also a book about the struggle for independence, freedom, and justice. Some of the main ideas in Animal Farm can even be used in real life situations. Animal Farm enforces this belief that, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Under Napoleon's regime, things become absolutely corrupt and cruel for the other farm animals. Most of the farm animals believe Napoleon at first when he says they will have a more productive and better life with him as their leader than they would have had when Snowball was their leader. Napoleon's actions and those of the remaining pigs, however, prove to be different than what the other animals expect.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2008

    The perfect political fantasy.

    Change can sometimes be good, but not in this case. At first glance, George Orwell's book "Animal Farm" might seem like a book for children but as I read the story, I began to realize it was based on the Russian Communist Revolution. It's purely political as well as fantasy, considering the characters are animals. George Orwell says "it is the history of a revolution that went wrong" and he was absolutely right. Leaders have a tendancy to get too comfortable with their authority and begin to take advantage of it. The novel explains the many things that can go wrong when someone decides it's time for a change.<BR/> "Animal Farm" is the story of a group of animals living in a farm under human authority. Once manipulated into believing Mr. Jones is evil, as well as all the human race, the animals decide to rebel. They come up with seven commandments that they are expected to live by:<BR/>1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy; <BR/>2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend; <BR/>3. No animal shall wear clothes; <BR/>4. No animal shall sleep in a bed; <BR/>5. No animal shall drink alcohol; <BR/>6. No animal shall kill any other animal; <BR/>7. All animals are equal.<BR/>The rules were set and they were final. They drive out the farmer and start to feel as if all authority is gone. Just as fast, the pigs decide they are the ones most fit to be in charge. Sure enough, authority begins to be abused and misused. The pigs treated the animals as if they were above and better than them. They started living in the farmers home, sleeping in the beds and there were even rumors of murder! The other animals were forced to work harder while the pigs sat around and did absolutely nothing. Everything was all too familiar but if you decided to speak up or go against the pigs, you were gone.<BR/> I could definitely recommend this book to others because it's very interesting and easy to comprehend. It illustrates manipulation at its worst. Before reading this book, I didn't care much for politics but after I realized everything that could go wrong, it motivated me to be aware of any leader's words and actions. It brought me to the realization that just because it sounds good doesn't always mean go with it because it's easy to be manipulated when the words they're speaking sound right. Change isn't always for the better, even if that's what they're telling you.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    Wow.

    This book is pretty deep. It shows how people can turn a lie into a whole big concept. I dont know why most people read it just in high school. I am only 12 and i loved it.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2010

    Great Story Line And Interesting Till the Very End.

    Animal Farm Review
    "Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals." ~George Orwell, Animal Farm. In the beginning of this book George Orwell shows how the humans are in control of the Manor Farm, then as the story progresses we see the animals take over and thus Animal farm is born. The book then goes on to show how the animals work together at first and then the pigs start to take control and from there the reader is taken on a rollercoaster of deception, betrayal, war, and much more.
    The writer gets his point across beautifully; he shows how a utopian society was impossible. An example of how he did this would be, that even once the animals got rid of the humans, the pigs stepped in and took control and started dictating, slowly and unnoticed by the other animals. As the story progresses there is a point where an overthrow is tried and succeeded. Then the commandments which were set when Animal Farm was first started were slowly altered ever so slightly that the animals were convinced that they just imagined the real commandments.

    The writer also shows how war was inevitable in order for the animals to keep their farm, also proving a world without war impossible. Like in the battle of the cow shed which was a big turning point in the story. Up till that point Mr. Jones had been planning to strike the animals on the farm and by doing so recover his farm back. But the animals had expected this and therefore readied themselves for it, so when Mr. Jones tried to win his farm back the animals had plans to run him off yet again thus the Battle of the Cow Shed. When the animals won this battle they proved to the humans and themselves that they were independent and would be able to fight to keep their freedom.

    It is my opinion that George Orwell stated fact well and made it interesting for the reader to read and also to interpret. He showed dictatorship at its beginning unthreatening, helpful, and hopeful and then the lust for ultimate power comes through and dictator! He shows suffering, hard work and unawareness. He showed what was wrong with society in that day and much of it still applies today, and did it all in a way that it could not be directly tied to the government. His words were beautiful, a book of great meaning and interest.

    So it is my opinion that George Orwell was a talented person of thought. The book at times made you feel as if you were there, it was fiction but yet comparable to real life, it showed many types of behavior, thoughts, and what one will do in a given situation and more. All in all the point of the book came across loud and clear.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2008

    Animal Farm review

    When I first started reading Animal Farm, I didn¿t really understand what they were talking about. Once you really get into the book, you figure out quickly what the book is really about. Animal Farm is about equality, mistreatment, and rules and commandments that even the leader couldn¿t follow. Also, it is about how you can¿t always trust who is in charge nor has authority over something. George Orwell did a great job on pointing out the fact that these animals were mistreated. If they didn¿t follow a commandment or did something the leader didn¿t like, then they could face severe punishment, or even death. The leader, Napoleon, couldn¿t always follow the commandments himself. When he failed to follow them, he would change them so that he couldn¿t be held responsible for breaking them. <BR/><BR/> The Animal Farm has a big goal they were trying to reach. As they were trying to get towards that goal, they hit a few bumps. They really learned what kind of unfair leader they had. They finally found out what happened with Snowball, their old leader. They wondered why they were treated so horribly and what they did to deserve it. Which in reality, they did nothing. It was all because they had a selfish leader and they trusted him. The way George Orwell described everything, I could picture everything that was going on in the book. I understood a little bit more of what was going on and how serious these animals were. They were exhausted. Overworked, they weren¿t fed well, didn¿t have any say so in anything. All they had were these commandments to live by: <BR/><BR/>1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy; <BR/>2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend; <BR/>3. No animal shall wear clothes; <BR/>4. No animal shall sleep in a bed; <BR/>5. No animal shall drink alcohol; <BR/>6. No animal shall kill any other animal; <BR/>7. All animals are equal<BR/><BR/> These rules weren¿t always fair but the animals took them seriously as well as the leaders. They had a song they sang that was in memory of their old leader. They sang it all the time and thought about their deceased member. Eventually, that was also banned from the farm and so were many other things. If you think that the world is not fair, why don¿t you just read this book and then you will really understand what is unfair and what rules that we need are. All you have to do is look at these animals. They had a desire for change burning in their hearts and would do anything to get there. Change can be for the good, which is what the animals wanted. But the downfall of that is, that change can also be for the bad, which is what happened in the story.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    Interesting Read!

    “Animal Farm” by George Orwell was a creative masterpiece. Orwell tells of a farm that is overcome by animals. The animals must face many difficult choices as they begin to build their own community. Things that the animals must face once they begin their new society include: leadership (who will be their 'leader' and help guide them in the right direction), profit (ways for the farm to continue making money even once the humans are upset with them), and society matters (including what buildings will be built and what jobs need to be done). Throughout the novel, the animals must face many ups and downs. I believe that Orwell isn't just telling a novel for enjoyment purposes, but also to describe how society is. He tells the story of animals controlling a farm because its creative and catches your attention, but the bigger picture is that he tells what happens once we elect an official for our government. I feel that if you want to do something, you can do it as long as you believe that you can, but I also believe that there could be unintended consequences. For example, the animals thought they could take over the farm and they did, but there were also consequences like times when there wasn't enough food for everyone or not enough money. This was a very interesting novel that covered many important points that are still problems with out government today. Just because you think someone is saying the things you want to hear and society hasn't crashed and burned doesn't necessarily mean that they are telling the complete truth. An example being how some animals are being treated differently than other animals on the farm and how the jobs are divided amongst the different 'classes' of animals. A point that doesn't have to do with government that George Orwell discusses in “Animal Farm” is trusting yourself. Some of the animals think that stuff seems to be changing, but they keep it to themselves. George Orwell's novel has opened my eyes: sometimes things aren't what they seem, if you think something seems different or off, mention it to others; they might be thinking the same thing. You guys could step it up and help bring a better change! This is a great novel that should be read by young adult readers because not only does it get your attention and make you want to read the novel, but it makes you think about society in the novel and how society is where you live. “Animal Farm” is a must read for both animal lovers and people who enjoy politics alike! Great job George Orwell!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2000

    Orwell stands beside Swift, Voltire, and Thackery.

    A great satire on conumissiom. I am 10 years old and I enjoied it. It is about a group of hard working farm animals, how they rebell, and how things do not go so well after it. Better than the t.v. movie!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2013

    Had to read this for school. If given the choice I would never

    Had to read this for school. If given the choice I would never would of read this. It was depressing and boring. Also, I felt that it was meant for adults not teenagers.

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Horrible book and very depressng

    Horrible book. the beggining was pretty good but towards the middle of the book everything started going downwards. From that point on it kept going downwards to the very end which then was a awful ending. The worst book that i have every read

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Classic

    I never got a chance reading this in high school, so here I am reading it as an adult. A true classic that shows the inequality of Specialness, shing a spotlight on the Disease of Entitlement, Power & Betrayal.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    Animal Farm

    In language arts class this year, we read Animal Farm. I would reccomend this book to anyone who is interested in Communism or is a WWII geek. This was a really good book and I enjoyed it a lot. I'm glad that Orwell wrote this book because America could be a completely different place without the insight that he had.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2011

    Animal Farm - a highly interesting read

    The novel Animal Farm is a very interesting book. It speaks of rebellion and dictatorship, freedom and oppression. In this book, George Orwell writes of a farm on which animals are oppressed and worked mercilessly without enough food. One of the pigs decides that the animals should revolt against their owners to create the perfect society ruled by those who stand on four feet.
    When the rebellion succeeds, a government is established with a pig called Napoleon as the head of the so called ¿Animal Farm,¿ the name the animals give Manor Farm after taking over. However, power tends to corrupt, and the utopian society doesn¿t stay perfect for long.
    One interesting part in Animal Farm was when the humans return to the farm and try and reclaim it, but fail. I think this symbolizes that when the old form of government tries to return, it finds that the new system is too strong to replace.
    Another notable scene is when Napoleon changes the seven commandments written on the barn wall to suit his own purposes, instead of for the good of the whole farm. The animals, most of who cannot read, ask the old goat to remind them what the laws say, and when they have been altered, blame themselves for having a bad memory and simply forgetting a few words here and there, though they alter the meaning of the rule considerably.
    I think the most important part in Animal Farm is located at the very end, when the pigs walk on two legs, carry whips, and play cards with humans. It was said that they looked almost the same. I think this signifies that although the animals had created a new government, it had turned out to greatly resemble the old one that they had so despised.
    I think the author of Animal Farm was trying to depict the Communist government and rule in a way that is somewhat satirical, and he did a very good job on this through renaming historical figures and representing them as animals to add to the effect of the governments being different, at least in the beginning. Animal Farm is an interesting book, full of meaningful situations and characters, and well worth reading.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2011

    False Utopian

    The perfect animal society made of the animals, by the animals, for the animals. Can such a utopian really exist? The animals of Manor Farm were sick of being mistreated by their drunkard owner Mr. Jones; Old Major gave them a vision of a new life where animals roamed the fields free of humans. Humans were the cause of so much despair for the animals; they took away and sold their young, and killed them for food and bones when they got to old. So, the animals started the Rebellion in order to free themselves. Animal Farm was a dream that became a reality, but soon turned into a nightmare, the superiority the pigs were bestowed with was horrific. Throughout the farm deception and lies spread, and each passing day became worse than the last. There can be no such thing as a utopian society in this world. Old Major left the animals with few laws of Animalism, laws that were too easily broken. Napoleon went against everything old Major believed in and envisioned. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy; then the pigs began to walk on two legs. No animal shall wear clothes; then the pig wore the clothes of their old master Mr. Jones. No animal shall sleep in a bed; the pigs not only wore the clothes of their past tyrant, but slept in the same bed. No animal shall drink alcohol; this became no animal shall drink alcohol to excess. No animal shall kill any other animal; Napoleon held a public execution. All animals are equal; but to Napoleon, he is considered more equal than others. People who take power become corrupt and blinded, they don¿t see how they look to others, they only see the pleasure of the fear in their eyes. They treat those under them like slaves, they lie to them and hurt them. Napoleon was no different, he went behind his comrades backs, he lied to them in such a way, it is unforgivable. Napoleon became not only a dictator, but he became a human. There can be no such thing as a utopian society in this world.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    Super dreadful absolutely boring

    Super dreadful absolutely boring

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2010

    Animal Farm Review

    The novel that I chose to do my assignment on was Animal Farm. It was a really great book and I absolutely loved it. If you would like to read a book that describes the struggles that we have to go through everyday with authority you will love this book. The story is written from the views of the animals, but it still identifies problems that people have to go through in their everyday lives.
    This novel is about animals on a farm that want to be their own leaders, and don't want to be ruled over by man. It starts off that they rebel and eventually they succeed in driving the farmer off. Then to summarize the middle the pigs who were the smartest of the animals decided that they would be the leaders of the animals. The animals did not understand what they were really agreeing to. All the animals made up rules that they were suppose to follow to stay organized. They also had a motto, "Four legs good two legs bad". Instead these rules would only be discarded like the dead animals that the head pig Napoleon killed with his savage dogs that he raised. (Isn't this interesting?)
    Eventually the pigs exacted exactly like humans. They wore clothes, drank beer, and ordered the other animals around. So no matter what you try to do there is always authority over you. Even if you think that you are free in truth you are not.
    I loved the way that the author organized the order of events in this novel. I think that George Orwell is very intelligent. I would also like to comment on the language and dialogue in this book. George wrote it in a way that was easy to understand. Also the dialogue was great because I felt like I was in the barn with the animals listening to them talk. Even though I know that this story is fictional because I know that animals can't talk it could be based on true events.
    I would definitely recommend this novel to any of my friends I would even recommend it to my friend that do not even like to read. I think that even they would love it. If I could rate this book on a scale of zero to ten I would give it a twenty. I would even like to meet George Orwell and discuss Animal Farm. To anyone who has not read the Animal Farm novel I suggest that you do. I will be reading more of George Orwell's books! Also I would just like to say that if I was going to be a writer I would pick George Orwell as my writing coach. He is just amazing.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2008

    A reviewer

    i did not like this book at all it was really boring

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    Looking for a book? Look somewhere else!

    I had to read this book at school and i can honestly say it was the most confusing and boring book i had ever read in my life. Unless you like George Orwell and know anything about the Russian Revolution, don't read this book.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    A magnificent parody to a dictatorship

    In Animal Farm, an old boar known as Major gathers every animal on Manor Farm one night and tells them that he had a dream of a changed society where humans have been driven out and everything is run by animals, working hours on farms are shorter, and everything is right and just and animals are all treated equally. Mr. Jones and his family (the owners of Manor Farm) are run out by the animals and they are free. However, the pigs happen to seize the only positions as leaders of Manor Farm (now Animal Farm). But the rest of the animals don't complain because the yearly harvest was completed much quicker and produced more and they get increased rations. However, a pig named Napoleon chases Snowball (the only other pig trying to lead Animal Farm) out of the farm and slowly establishes a dictator-like regime on the farm that gives pigs and dogs a higher social status than the rest of the animals there. He slowly changes the original commandments of Animalism (the belief that all animals are equal that was established on Animal Farm originally) so that conditions on the farm were no better than before. This classic is a great read and I reccomend that you read it.

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